What It's All About

Hits Different: Davis & Lovell Get Emotional Riata #14.5 Win in 2023
On the heels of tragedy, Davis and Lovell make good at Riata Buckle.
Colby Lovell Pepinstep
Colby Lovell and Pepinstep win the 2023 Riata Buckle #14.5 with Jace Davis. | Andersen/CBarC Photography

Jace Davis on DD Triggers Time and Colby Lovell on Pepinstep are the 2023 Riata Buckle #14.5 Champions, worth $51,750 for a win that wasn’t at all about the money.

You see, Jace, 15, is the son of NFR header Justin Davis and the late Casee Bailey Davis, who lived a big, loving life with Justin and her two sons before she died Sept. 15, 2023, from breast cancer.

Full Results 2023 Riata Buckle

Lovell, for his part, has long been Justin’s close friend and supporter back in their hometown of Madisonville, Texas, and the 2020 World Champ and 2022 Riata Buckle Open Heading Champ has been along for the ride with the Davis family for the duration of their trials. So when Jace and Lovell came tight in 28.39 seconds on four head for the win from eighth callback, the emotions in the Lazy E were palpable.

Watch the 2023 Riata Buckle

“Colby and I grew up together, and we always had each other’s back,” Dad Justin, 41, said. “But when you go through life circumstances like this, and your friends always show up. And Colby has been there every minute for me and my boys. It’s huge for me as a parent to have somebody else to back up my boys and support them and push them and encourage them. That’s what true friendship is about. That passion Colby has, he has it for the people around him. That’s when you know you’re not just passionate for yourself—it’s not a selfish desire to do good, it’s a desire to do great and be great for other people, and Colby has shown that.”

Pepinstep and Colby Lovell heeling
Colby Lovell throws fast on Pepinstep by One Time Pepto out of the Bet On Me 498 mare Better Sue. | Andersen/CBarC Photo

“Their mental game, for what they’ve been through and gone through, you can’t shake them, they’re tough,” Lovell added of Jace and his younger brother, Ryder. “Everybody who knows Justin, there’s nothing you can’t say. He’s the most positive person I’ve met in my life, and Ryder (Davis’s other son) takes after him. So me and Jace do good for each other. I wouldn’t say I’ve been here for them, they’ve been here for me.”

For Jace, this marks the biggest win of his young career.

“This means a lot,” Jace said. “I’ve put so much work into this. I’ve had ropings I’ve missed every steer, and gone back to the house and put on the Mojos and roped all night, til one or two in the morning. It takes a lot of hard work.”

The head horse is Justin’s, raised and started by the Kesler family in Utah before Davis bought him as a 4-year-old.

“I’ve been so blessed to have so many great horses,” Justin said. “But when God puts animals in your life that you can use for a true purpose, that horse is just like Hammer was. He’s willing to do the job and has all the ability in the world like Hammer did. He wants to win and wants to please. He’s just a blessing.”

Both Justin and Jace ride the horse, and they spend a lot of time in the practice pen with Lovell and his string of great horses, too.

Jace Davis Riata Buckle Winner
Jace Davis winning the #14.5 at the 2023 Riata Buckle. | Andersen/CBarC Photography

“They bring me up, I bring them up, we push each other,” Lovell said. “It’s part of the team. Them boys rope great. They’re going to make the NFR one day. I know they are. They rope outstanding. To be a part of that, and watch that grow, then come here and be able to win here.”

Lovell’s horse was the Riata-nominated of the herd, a 5-year-old stallion by One Time Pepto raised by the Flag Ranch, who’s raised winning horses ridden by the likes of Rhen Richard, Tate Kirchenschlager, Cole Davison and Trevor Brazile.

“In June, Mr Larry called me and asked if I’d be interested in training him in the roping to take him to the futurities next year,” Lovell said. “I had no plans on riding him this year. I haven’t really ever rode for the public, so I was a little nervous because I wanted to do a good job. If it’s your horse you mess up, then you can work at it and figure it out. But if it’s somebody else’s, they want to take their horse. But he’s done great.”

Jason and Kisha Itkin, owners of Theorem Ranch in Livingston, Montana, purchased the horse in early September, and by then, Lovell was extremely confident in the horse’s abilities.

“I told them if I do my job, he has the ability to do big things,” Lovell said. “Last night was the first time I’ve headed on him and put him to the test, and to rope both ends in that setup, I think he was the only horse to do both ends and I was proud of him. He walked in the box every time, stayed focused, didn’t get rattled. That horse has been like that since day one. For us to start back over this morning, and him not to try to out think me or out smart me, he just put it to work and read the play. There’s nothing I can say about that horse that he doesn’t say for himself.”


The story of the @RiataBuckleOfficial played out today during the 14.5, when Jace Davis and Colby Lovell got the $51,750 win in 28.65 seconds on four steers. This is a team roping story you’re going to want to read at the link in bio tonight. Watch the 12.5 live on @Roping.com now. Coverage presented by @resistol1927 | @Cactus Ropes | @Cactus Saddlery | @FastBackRopes | @Equinety.

♬ Victorious – The Score

For the Itkins, owning a horse like Pepinstep, in training with a guy like Colby Lovell, is just how they operate.

“Jason and I try to do everything at the highest level,” Kisha said. “When we decided to develop a horse program for Theorem Ranch, we knew we would cut no corners. And we wanted to find the part of the industry that fits how we do things. The rope horse industry not only celebrates the horses in a deserving way but the partnerships between the athletes, breeders and owners. Everyone competes hard and celebrates being the best at what they do. We are honored to be a part of that.”

14.5 All Age 
#Time HeaderHeelerAmount
128.39 Jace DavisColby Lovell$51,750 
H: Pepinstep
S: One Time Pepto
228.65 Andy HolcombMiles Baker$38,250 
H: One Vintage MeradaH: Pride And Joyy
S: One Fine VintageS: Stevie Rey Von
328.98 Kyler KanadyJeff Kanady$27,000 
H: Natural Boon Pep
S: Natural Bottom
429.05 Waylon DavisJeff Kanady$22,500 
H: Peps Six ScarletH: Natural Boon Pep
S: PepcidS: Natural Bottom
529.66 Tyce LacinaDenton Parish$20,250 
H: TuffontheprettyladysH: Bet Hesa Freckledcat
S: Woody Be TuffS: Bet Hesa Cat
629.91 Tyce LacinaLane Cooper$18,000 
H: TuffontheprettyladysH: Mr Stylish Hope
S: Woody Be TuffS: Mr Playinstylish
730.1 Culley MorganBrady Kyle$13,500 
H: Aint Seen Vegas YetH: Smokin Metallic Cat
S: Aint Seen Nothin YetS: Metallic Cat
830.15 Rhett NelsonZack Bocco$11,250 
H: Mia Red
S: Mia Browbeater
930.64 Cody WheelerBlake Stocker$9,000 
H: Doc Hesa CatH: Boon Away
S: Bet Hesa CatS: Once In A Blu Boon
1030.84 Barry BergColby Lovell$6,750 
H: Playguns Seven GunH: Proxy
S: Seven S Big ValleyS:
1132.94 Blair LammersBritt Williams$6,750 
H: Smart Little Bigtime
S: Hickory Holly Time
#Time HeaderHeelerAmount
128.65 Andy HolcombMiles Baker$6,600 
H: One Vintage MeradaH: Pride And Joyy
S: One Fine VintageS: Stevie Rey Von
228.98 Kyler KanadyJeff Kanady$4,600 
H: Natural Boon Pep
S: Natural Bottom
329.05 Waylon DavisJeff Kanady$3,400 
H: Peps Six ScarletH: Natural Boon Pep
S: PepcidS: Natural Bottom
430.15 Rhett NelsonZack Bocco$2,400 
H: Mia Red
S: Mia Browbeater
530.64 Cody WheelerBlake Stocker$1,800 
H: Doc Hesa CatH: Boon Away
S: Bet Hesa CatS: Once In A Blu Boon
630.84 Barry BergColby Lovell$1,200 
H: Playguns Seven Gun 
S: Seven S Big Valley 
Rot 1
#Time HeaderHeelerAmount
15.82 Jerad McFarlaneTrey McFarlane$3,000 
H: GilligansblacktuxbosH: Seagrams Colonelfrek 
S: Gilligans Black TuxS: PG Dry Fire 
 Rot 2    
15.92 Dillon HoffmanJesse Nash$3,000 
H: Metallic Katz 
S: Metallic Cat 
 Rot 3    
15.55 Corben CulleyCordell Collins$3,000 
H: Its Probably Time 
S: Hickory Holly Time 
 Rot 4    
15.21 Logan AllenClay Smith$3,000 
H: Sf Bay LadyH: Cr Better Be Tuff 
S: Four Bonnie BayS: Woody Be Tuff 
Fast Time SGO
#Time HeaderHeelerAmount
19.85 Justin DavisHaze Bruce$3,000
H: Dd Denvers WhiskeyH: Swipe Like Tinder 
S: Denver Red BuckS: Shining Spark 
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